team development

How Having a Talent Management Strategy Helps Employer/Employee Breakups

Employer/Employee Breakups are the Worst

“I’m so sorry, but it’s just not working out.”

Those breakup words are nothing anyone wants to hear in their dating lives. But, in a professional setting, they can be equally—and in some cases more—concerning and frustrating. Each time an organization drops this phrase in a discussion with one of its employees or has one of their team members break things off with them, it leads to a loss in productivity, time, and, most of all, money. That hurts. No matter how you spin it, employer/employee breakups are the worst.

No one wants to receive this news. And, no one wants to deliver it either. But the fact is, without an effective talent management strategy, organizations will likely continue to deliver this news to employees who fail to meet expectations. Or, worse yet, they’ll have to hear it themselves from talented but disengaged employees who decide to leave after feeling unnurtured and unsupported in their roles.

The good news? It doesn’t have to be this way. With a talent management strategy in place, office breakups (and their repercussions) don’t have to happen nearly as often as they might otherwise.

Developing and implementing a robust talent management strategy—that’s the key to avoiding them.
So, What Do We Mean by “Talent Management Strategy?”

Simply put, businesses with a talent management strategy make strategically planning and envisioning talent needs a top priority rather than shunting those needs off as a secondary (and reactionary) thought. Talent management means preventing turnover and addressing lack of engagement. It means acting to achieve consistency in executional excellence. It requires managing speed and flexibility rather than letting the pace of work pull the rug out from underneath you. For organizations looking to drive results, putting in the effort to hire and engage the right people makes all the difference.
Here’s Where to Start—Answer the “What” Piece of the Puzzle

It’s no secret—companies that embrace strategies to hire and retain talent find themselves better suited to drive results and deliver on expectations. Creating those strategies begin by taking the first step—designing the right organizational structure.

Start by asking questions like:

  1. What are the goals the organization is trying to achieve?

  2. What roles need to be created or filled based on those goals?

  3. What traits does the perfect employee need in order to fulfill the role?

  4. What tools does the organization have for identifying top performers?

  5. What cognitive and behavioral traits do we need to find in candidates here?


When mapping out how to build and design an optimal workforce that can get the job done, organizational leaders need to consider these questions first.

While HR departments, like Recruiting, Organizational Development, and Training support these aspects of hiring and developing an organization’s workforce, the “people strategy” component of the equation requires leaders to map out.


Diving into the “Who” Component of the Equation

Once leaders design their organization’s structure and map out what roles are needed, they need to figure out the “who” piece by asking questions like:

  1. Who is the right person for the job based on the specific job requirements?

  2. Who can do this job while finding it interesting and engaging?

  3. Who will enjoy growing and challenging themselves in this position?

  4. Who might have the skills or potential to succeed even if they don’t have the obvious experience in their background?

  5. Who could move within this organization and provide a good fit in future roles that arise?

  6. Who are the right team players for highly visible projects?

  7. Who is ready for their next career move, promotion, or stretch assignment on a new team?

  8. Who needs training or additional resources to do their job well?

  9. Who needs supplementary support in order to stay engaged?

Getting the “who” component down from day one sets a company up for short-term success. Long-term success, however, requires long-term thinking and planning.

Even after organizations hire the right individual for a role they know is a good fit, the work doesn’t end. In fact, it only begins. Nurturing and developing an employee—even a seasoned veteran—plays a critical role in empowering them to perform their job successfully throughout their entire time within your organization.
Over time, talent needs change. And, your company needs a way figure out how to move their talent to meet these shifting needs. New teams, new special projects, opportunities for promotions, or lateral moves all require the ongoing attention of your organization. Optimizing your talent management strategy to account for change and considering how candidates or existing employees match to new opportunities helps your organization adapt to shifts in circumstances, business strategies, and talent needs.

Here’s the Bottom-line

Without a proactive talent management strategy, tools to measure and decide which candidate best fits a role, and methods for keeping employees engaged, business leaders and companies tend to make talent decisions on an as-needed basis. Doing so is natural, but it can create gaps within a workplace and increase room for error, not to mention cost an organization time and money. Lack of planning upfront increases stress, extra workloads, and internal conflict as existing employees buckle under the weight of an enlarged workload assumed from vacant positions.

How PXT Select™ Offers a Proven Talent Management Solution

Serious challenges, like talent acquisition and retention, require equally serious solutions. That’s why we developed PXT Select™. With over 20+ years of research behind it, PXT Select starts from the very beginning by helping you identify the “who” and “what” aspects of the puzzle.

After helping to create a model of the perfect candidate, the PXT Select assessment utilizes psychometric data to help organizations understand how individual candidates or existing employees think and work. From there, a company can place individuals into positions they’re more likely to engage with, succeed in, and stick around for.

To us, that’s a much better alternative than repeating those uncomfortable workplace breakups over and over. They’re possible to avoid. It just takes a little planning and the right information to get there.

I am a PXT Select Authorized Partner and can help you put this in place so you win the competition for talent.

How to Keep your Top Talent

A 2010 HBR article by Jean Martin and Conrad Schmidt lists 6 mistakes organizations make in focusing on their top talent which has the most impact on results:

  1. Assuming that high potentials are highly engaged. The Corporate Executive Board's research revealed that 1 in 4 intends to leave their organization within a year, 1 in 3 admits to not putting all their effort into their job, 1 in 5 believes their personal aspirations are quite different from what the organization has planned for them, and 4 out of 10 have little confidence in their coworkers and even less confidence in the senior team.

  2. Equating current high performance with future potential. The "high potential" designation is often used as a reward for an associate's contribution in a current role, but most people on the leadership track will be asked to deliver future results in much bigger jobs. Knowing their aspirations is critical.

  3. Delegating down the management of top talent. High potential employees are a long-term corporate asset and should be managed accordingly, not hidden in functional areas managed by line managers.

  4. Shielding rising stars from early derailment. The very best programs place emerging leaders in "live fire" roles where new capabilities can and must be acquired.

  5. Expecting star employees to share the plan. Under normal circumstances, higher potentials put in 20% more effort than other employees in the same role. Sweetening the bonus pool or differentiating compensation for them makes their rewards in line with their contributions.

  6. Failing to link your starts to your corporate strategy. Confidence in their managers and in their firms' strategic capabilities is one of the strongest factors in top employees' engagement. Develop ways to share your future strategies on a privileged basis with your high potential leers and emphasize their role in making that future real.

Tools to engage your stars

Everything DiSC® solutions provide rich, versatile learning programs that offer personal insight for learners at every level of an organization, using a consistent language of DiSC®. Using a research-validated learning model, each solution provides in-depth information including tips, strategies, and action plans to help learners become more effective in the workplace. All Everything DiSC solutions include unlimited access to complimentary follow-up reports and MyEverythingDiSC®, the interactive learning portal exclusive to Everything DiSC.

Tools to discuss future potential

Use the PXT Select assessment for selection, onboarding, development and future potential assessment.

*Get a clear picture of candidate’s thinking style, behaviors, and interests, giving you a meaningful edge in making the right hiring decision.

*Start the selection process on the right foot. Explore an expanding library of job functions to which you can compare candidates.

*Interview with confidence by asking tailored questions and keeping an open ear for “what to listen for” based on a candidate’s assessment results.

*Identify ways to enhance performance and maximize an individual’s contribution to an organization.

*Match people with positions in which they’ll perform well and enjoy what they do.

*Reduce critical turnover and boost employee engagement. 

Tools to engage high potentials with their teams

The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team is an assessment-based learning experience that helps individuals and organizations reveal what it takes to build a truly cohesive and effective team in the most approachable, competent, and effective way possible.Powered by Everything DiSC®, the profiles help participants understand their own DiSC® styles. Bringing together everyone’s personalities and preferences to form a cohesive, productive team takes work, but the payoff can be huge—for individuals, the team, and the organization.

Practice Random Acts of Kindness

Last fall, Chuck Wall, a Bakersfield College professor assigned his students to commit one random act of senseless kindness. He was listening to a radio report of yet another act of senseless violence and decided to change the wording a little. This assignment was taken seriously and has turned into a movement, applicable to all of our institutions. These are an effective add-on to formal "cultural improvement" efforts and here are some examples - feel free to add some and do them!

Neighborhoods: Neighborhood meetings, free little libraries, and art projects, helping an ill neighbor with yard maintenance
Government: Community policing, addressing homelessness, human rights, access to libraries, and community gardens. 
Schools: Offer opportunities to students, teachers and families to perform acts of kindness to fellow students, teachers, and family.
Workplace: Buy coffee for someone at work, treat a colleague to lunch, use humor with a colleague who’s having a rough morning, make a promise not to speak negatively about a colleague. Resist the urge to gossip, write a thank-you note to a coworker, let selected colleagues know how much you appreciate them, clean up a common area at your workplace, re-engage with a coworker, get to know someone at work you have not talked to in a while, introduce yourself to a new person at your organization, eat lunch with someone new and take this opportunity to learn about what they are like outside of the workplace.

Here are the benefits if we do one act of kindness every day:

  • Building community among colleagues

  • Helping colleagues work together

  • Eliminating negativity in the workplace

  • Improving attitudes and overall communication

  • Improving morale

  • Assisting associates in taking pride in their work

  • Encouraging other positive habits

  • Improving the quality and output of work